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League suspends Shaq for tirade

Associated Press
Published February 3, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS - Shaquille O'Neal was suspended without pay by the NBA on Monday, one day after using obscene language and publicly criticizing the officials during a television interview.

The suspension was announced hours after the Lakers center issued a statement apologizing for the comments he made Sunday after a 84-83 win over the Raptors. O'Neal sat out Monday against Indiana. It cost him nearly $295,000.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson called the punishment "rather severe and childish in some ways." Jackson said he thought a fine would have been appropriate.

O'Neal issued a statement of apology: "My comments were made out of frustration in the heat of the moment," he said. "But I realize that my choice of words was inappropriate and again, I would like to apologize."

Jackson said "there was no precedence" for the suspension.

GRIFFIN JAILED: Nets forward Eddie Griffin was back in jail Monday after prosecutors said he violated bail terms stemming from a prior assault charge. His bond was revoked and a hearing was set for today over alleged curfew violations.

BULLS: Jay Williams, who played one season before a motorcycle accident put his career in jeopardy, and the team agreed on a contract buyout. Bill Duffy, Williams' agent, said the buyout was in the $3-million range. Williams had two more years worth about $7.7-million left on his original deal.

ROCKETS: Team scoring leader Steve Francis was suspended for the game against the Suns for missing a flight to Phoenix.

SUPERSONICS: Shooting guard Richie Frahm was activated after spending 10 days on the injured list with right knee tendinitis.

WARRIORS: Guard Nick Van Exel was activated after missing eight games (inflamed left knee) and Troy Murphy (bruised right ankle) went on the injured list.

WNBA: Jennifer Azzi, 35, is retiring to devote more time to business interests. She ends her five-year career as the league's all-time leader in 3-point shooting at 45.8 percent.

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